Be True to YOU!

I found this quote on Twitter awhile back, and it struck a chord within my soul. We hear so much today, in social media circles and in pop culture, about “being true to yourself,” or “being the ‘real’ me,” and while these statements have an element of truth, the real place of authenticity is found when you are true to the most healthy, healed and whole version of you.

Too often, we can get caught up in a popular trend or the peer pressures of life that we lose the authenticity of our soul. [yes, even adults can have “peer pressures!” It just comes in a little different, more subtle ways.😉] We start becoming something or someone we’re not simply to please the crowd or to fit into the environment in which we live, work, or “play.” Or we get so consumed in a past wound, trauma or tragedy that we cannot release the pain, and we become someone we were never meant to be.

Let me be clear, I am not trying to trivialize or make light of any trauma or heartbreak you have experienced. Believe me, I have plenty of my own. Yet, I believe in this day in age, with all the psychobabble and selfish outlook that too many “in power and spotlight” (celebrities, talkshows, politicians, even some therapists and teachers) give to those who follow, we have less people seeking healing and renewal of their minds and bodies than ever before. We have too many in our culture who make excuses for their pain and use a blaming, justification or gaslighting approach to life; so, they don’t have to “own up” to their own struggles and wrongs. They can simply hold someone else responsible for their own actions and words, and they never have to change.

This should not be, and it makes for a very sick, dysfunctional and perverse person and, eventually, will lead to a very wicked and evil society. If you are going to be “true to yourself,” then, why not be true to the best you you can be? Why settle for second best or broken or damaged? Why not take a risk, push a little harder and work toward getting help, healing and resolution to those wounded placed in your heart and soul? Why not work on discovering a new, healthy, healed, whole you?

Is it too much work? Not if you want better than you have right now. Is it too hard? Actually, that’s a decision only you can make. However, I can tell you this. If health and healing is your goal, you will discover more strength, along the way, than you ever thought or imagined possible! Once wholeness is between the goal posts of your life, it will give you a thirst for accomplishment that you didn’t know you could possess, and that thirst will be unquenchable until everything else is laid aside for the “win!”

This may sound like a funny comparison, but it’s like being a kid when your granny is cooking a chocolate cake (or whatever deliciousness is your favorite), and you come in when she’s on her second batch. So, the house is consumed with the yummy smells of the dessert, and she asks you if you want to lick the bowl/spoon. You get just a taste of that chocolatey goodness, and it becomes all you can think about. You can hardly wait until she pulls that cake out of the oven, lets it cool and tells you it’s ready to consume. You become so anxious and impatient that she finally kicks you out of the kitchen in fear you will just jerk that thing right out of the oven and hurt yourself! 😂

That’s exactly how it is when you commit to being “you” in the true, healed and whole sense. You get that taste of strength, of peace, of joy and of renewal, and you won’t want to go back to the broken, desperate and desolate being you once were! You’ll long for that wholeness and become so consumed with the possibility that nothing will keep you from it’s revelation!

Are you hungry yet??

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)

He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth andrighteousness echo His name.” Psalm 23:3 (The Voice Bible)

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Only One

I wonder how it feels to walk without shame. I wonder how it feels to run without guilt. I wonder how it feels to fly without regret and remorse as your wings.

Some seek solace in a bottle. Some seek refuge in a friend. Still others seek redemption in work ethics, rule setting or a religious embrace.

Tears shed for the years lost. Weeping is heard for the innocence stolen. Wailing is released for the lives bound by sin and disgrace.

Peace cannot be found in the chaos. Rest cannot be found in the confusion. Silence cannot be found in the clamor of opinions and directives.

Only One can bring Truth to shatter the veil. Only One can bring mercy to crumble the chains. Only One can bring justice to destroy the bondage.

One Name is Truth. One Life is Mercy. One look is Grace. One breath is Freedom.

Jesus.

Do you know Him?

Listen Up and Receive

Proverbs 15:31-33
“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”

Have you ever met anyone who just wouldn’t listen to wisdom? You know, that one to whom you could talk till you’re “blue in the face;” yet, he or she just simply refuses to open his or her ears to hear. To be honest, when this happens, I have to fight genuine anger within my heart and then I have to fight pure pity.

To watch someone who is so stubborn in their own will to refuse God time and time again infuriates me on the onset, because it is as if I am standing at the top of a waterfall screaming out to her of the coming danger. I am jumping up and down, waving my arms, yelling at the top of my lungs, desperately trying to make her see that if she continues to travel in her canoe, ignoring the rushing rapids, she will find herself busted and destroyed in just a short time, maybe even beyond repair. It is as if I am furiously throwing all lifelines out to help him get to safety, and yet, despite all my efforts, he shoves the ropes off the boat and scoffs at my concern.

Then, the undesirable but inevitable happens. She finally realizes the error of her ways, but it is now too late. She violently attempts to turn around, only to find the craft is teetering over the edge and racing toward the rocks below. There is nothing more you can do, except wait until he steps out of the destruction and finds himself again. You can pray, and you can cry, and rightly you should; yet, until he decides to remove himself from the debris, you will be struggling in vain.

That is when the pity and the sorrow settles into my view. To see her fighting against the hope which remains breaks my heart. To see her waring against her Maker draws tears to my eyes. To see him clawing and assaulting his Savior, refusing the grace and mercy right within his grasp, shatters my serenity and peace.

There is hope for all who are lost. There is redemption for all those broken and shattered by their own muck and mire. He loves you. He will redeem you. He is waiting there for you to see. Just call on His name. You will never be the same.

Moving Forward

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The New Year can often be filled with regrets and remorse over the things of the past. Sometimes, it can be filled with so much trepidation that it might even impede you from moving beyond it. Yet, can I tell you? With God, all things are made new. 

Knowing Christ and surrendering our lives to Him can give us a fresh new start. He simply washed away all sin, as if we have a brand new, clean slate. Isn’t that awesome? 

Now, please understand. Committing your life to Christ doesn’t mean your relationships are instantly made perfect or that traffic ticket is somehow demolished or even that your past due bills are miraculously paid off with no effort from you. No, sometimes, the consequences to or wrong actions are still there, and we have to walk through those painful experiences still. However, as we commit our lives to Him, all of a sudden, we are not alone anymore. We don’t have to be fearful anymore, and we don’t have to dread the future or lament over the past. Our past no longer defines our future when Christ is at the center, because He now defines it. 

He gives us a second chance, a chance we don’t deserve, and we can’t earn. He gives us grace, meaning we have unmerited favor simply because He loves us. He shows us His mercy, not because He needs us, but because we so desperately need Him!

Now, that is something to look forward to. That is something that should make your New Years a pretty good one! 😉

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We Never Know

We have no guarantees. We have no promises of long life and happiness in this earthly life. Not one of us can predict what tomorrow might bring.

I read a post today about a friend who lost her sister in a tragic accident. She was a wife of 14 years and a mom to four children still at home. Talked to a young man yesterday who lost his mom 7 seven years ago; he’s just a teenager. Another friend is grieving the loss of her 16 year old who was lost in a house fire last month. Tragedy surrounds us everyday, and we may never know what someone is going through unless they share their story.

Sometimes, especially in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we can get so busy with our ‘to do’ lists, our shopping needs and our holiday parties that we fail to see the hurting who may be standing right next to us. You know, the waiter who seemed to not care about whether you enjoyed your meal today? Maybe she just lost her mom last week, and she’d rather escape responsibilities right now; however, she has to work to pay the bills. The cashier who seemed mad that you were even in her line? Maybe she’s struggling through a divorce and won’t get to see her kids on Christmas Day, because the judge granted visitation to dad this holiday. Or the father in the grocery aisle looking lost and confused, who just won’t get out of your way? Maybe he is distracted, because his beautiful wife of 10 years is lying in a hospital bed suffering from an incurable disease, but he’s here, searching for the cereal that his four year old so wants for breakfast.

The promise of our Savior is one of Hope. Isaiah told us He would be called Wonderful, Counselor, a Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, and He is all of this and SO much more!  I have to ask, “Are we sharing Him with the world around us this Christmas?” Are we looking for those in need and taking the time to listen to their stories?

We never know the stories unless they share them with us. Yet, if we will open our eyes and listen to His voice, sometimes, He will bring them right in front of us. Just a smile, an encouraging word, a helping hand might help them make it through another day. God could have placed them in your path for you to see; so, you could share your story…because you are someone who has found the Hope they desperately need.

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Let us not just be a great church who sits on a hill looking lovely and singing beautiful songs. Let it be our ambition to reach this community, to share the love of Christ to the unloveable and to proclaim His Hope to the hopeless. Let us share our story that has found love and grace and Hope in the only One True God.

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To Set You Free

“Standing up for what is right is a key to freedom…A chain of bondage is placed upon a person link by link each time she turns away from the Truth or refuses to voice what is right.” – Jesus Freaks

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You speak lies as if they were rays of light.

You spew anger and deceit like rain.

Untruths pour out of your lips like rivers flowing to find higher ground.

Yet, you never see the chains that have wrapped around you link by link.
You stand proclaiming your stories.

Believing this will bring you fame and glory.

You hold onto your belief that slander will bring you the power you seek.

Yet, you never realize the pit in which you have thrown yourself is destined only for disaster.
You cannot see the chains that bind you.

You cannot see the miry pit in which you tread.

Your release lies within the Truth.

Your liberty is bound within your fight for rightness.

Your freedom is enslaved to the veracity of your words.
There is Hope for this prison in which you dwell.

There is a Promise for these chains that hold you still.

Just turn toward Him to see your redemption.

Let His Truth wash over you and make you clean.
Penned – 7/27/16 – MG

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“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

 

Remember Your Purpose


I hear the screams “Hypocrisy! … Hypocrite! … Deceit!” Yet, the very ones whose mouths move are of that reputation. 

I hear the cries for “Justice! … Unity! … Peace!” Yet, the very fists raised are fighting against the solution. 

I hear the rants toward “Hatred … Cruelty … Death!” Yet, the very teeth chattering gnash against reason and resolution. 

My brothers speak ill of another as result of simple disagreements and competition. My sisters spin vicious webs of gossip as a conclusion of jealousy and conceit. Yet, we call ourselves children of a King. 

Can I tell you, THIS OUGHT NOT BE! 

Where is the love of Christ? Where is the discipleship of a Savior? Are we His followers, or are we just playing a game? How can we reach them when we cannot reach each other? How can we share love if we cannot give love?

This world needs Truth. 

This world needs Love. 

This world needs Hope. 

This world needs Redemption. 

We were placed here for a purpose, and that purpose is His and His alone. That purpose is to find the lost, and let them be found! That purpose is to bring Him glory even if it means bringing us shame. 

Let us remember. 

Let us never forget. 

He is our purpose. 

He is our goal. 

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil. 2:1-4

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A King’s Gift

Mephibosheth…what a name. He was crippled in both feet, too…his nurse had dropped him as a child…and his Daddy and Grandaddy had been killed in battle…and he was born to royalty, but his kingship had been taken away, because a new king had been crowned. By law, he could be killed by that new king. He just wanted to be left alone to die in his misery…but the new king had called upon him. 

I wonder what he was thinking when he got that message. I wonder what he thought of his life. What hardship he had endured. What tragedy he had survived…I don’t think he was thriving in his current life. I don’t think he was too excited about this call either. He had to receive the call…and he had to answer; after all, it was the King

If it were me, I think I might just tell that messenger, “Will you just kill me now?? I mean, really. I’m crippled. I’m broke. I have no family. I have no heritage. I have no inheritance, and now, the very one who’s taken my inheritance away from me is calling for me to come to him…probably to kill me! What more do you want from me? Can’t you just leave well enough alone?!” What a terrible lot in life. 

He followed through with the request. He went to see the king. Could you imagine his anguish as he entered the Kings’ courts? Could you imagine his resolution, probably, to just take his death sentence and be done with this sorry life he’d been handed? In your mind, can you see him??

Now, could you imagine his relief when King David told his servants to clothe him in the finest robes and seat him at his personal table for a fine dinner? That’s what happened! He was seated at the king’s table to eat of the king’s meal, and then, he was welcomed in to live at the king’s palace for the rest of his days! 

You see, before he died, his father had been best friends with this king. This king grieved over losing his best friend. This king longed to show kindness to his best friends’ household, and Mephibosheth was the only one left. 

Oh, what relief. Oh, what utter JOY!! Could you imagine the turn of events? To be given such a gift, I would be elated! To be given such grace, I would be ecstatic!! I would be overjoyed

Did you know, you and I can actually receive such a gift??

It may not be in an earthly kingdom, but it is in a heavenly one. Here on this earth, you and I are destined for a life of sin and an eternity of hell, but we have a Father in heaven who sent His Son to die for us, to forgive us our sins, and if we’ll just accept His invitation, He promises to give us an eternity of heaven!

What an incredible story…what an incredible ending…it’s a true one,* by the way…

What an incredible opportunity for you and me… How about it? Will you accept the invitation today? All you have to do is believe. 

*2 Samuel 9:1-9 
*John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Just A Cup Of Water

This is a little cup of water…doesn’t look like much, does it? It’s just about 2-3oz.  

If you’re really thirsty this morning, it might not be enough to quench your thirst. If you’re wanting a big 36 oz. “Thirst Quencher,” it would take quite a few of these to get there, wouldn’t it? To fill a 5 gallon bucket, it might seem to never be enough to do the job!

…but, at youth camp a few weeks ago, to a little child out on the outdoor, sand-filled, volley ball court, standing in the sweltering heat, or to a teen who just played human foosball with a bunch of others guys in the noonday sun, this little bity cup of water does wonders! At camp, the rec staff had a huge supply of these cups on the golf carts, carrying them to every station where the kids were, because this little tiny cup of water kept those kids hydrated throughout the day. That little cup of liquid quenched their thirst until they could get inside to cool off.

This world is dying and going to hell. It’s like they’re out on the volleyball court of life, and they’re dying of thirst. Some of them don’t even realize they’re thirsting to death until a cup of water is brought to them, or worse, when they pass out from the “heat” and have to be rushed to the ER is when they recognize their need for something more. They are desperate for life-giving water. Jesus is the living water that they need.

As Christians, it is our job to give Jesus to them. We are His vessels. We are His “cups.” What we have may not be fancy; it may not be big; it may not even seem to be enough. Yet, if we don’t reach out to this lost and dying world, if we don’t bring His living water to them, how will they ever survive? How can they live?  Even if  a 2-3oz. cup of water is all we have, with Jesus, it can save a life!!

Matt. 25:35, 40 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,…The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Let Me Be Found True

Oh, Lord, how do I love thee?

Let me count not the ways

 

I speak of You in public grace

Yet, ignore You in the secret place

I praise You when it’s convenient

But neglect You when it’s intimate

I look to You when I remember and when I’m in need

However, forget You when my schedule is in the lead

 

Oh, Father, please forgive me from this wretched sin

Cleanse my heart and mind from within

Let me not be a person of works alone

And have not a single seed yet to be sown

Change me from this life of chaos and pride

Transform my soul to one in which You may abide

I give You my life, my heart and my breath

I surrender my dreams, my future, my death

 

Oh, my King, how do I love thee?

I pray You can count the ways

 

I desire to serve you in all my ambitions

Yet, we all have fallen short of Your suppositions

I long for the day when our eyes shall finally meet

But I fear for Your glory burns so awfully deep

I yearn to be found worthy, righteous and true

However, You spoke of many by whom Your words would be doomed

 

Oh, Yahweh, please conform my plans to Your ways

Mold me, make me into Your earthen vessel of clay

Redirect my words, my thoughts, my actions and deeds

Set anew my wants and reconstruct them to Your needs

I give You my life, my heart and my breath

I surrender my dreams, my future and my death

 

Penned – MG – 6/30/03